Should My Child Write About COVID 19?

I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of the words “COVID 19,” “coronavirus,” “pandemic,” “new normal,” and “pivot.” What I’m not tired of are masks and clean hands. These last 100 days+ have made us all rethink our lives. How we communicate, how we educate and most importantly, how we process such a life-altering situation. 

Teenagers have it worse. They have so much on their plates given school, social media and hormones. Most of them are even more eager than the adults to have life go back to “normal.” This is partially to suppress the fact that they’re anxious, depressed and flat out confused about what’s going on. 

Thankfully, the Common Application and Coalition Application are giving students in the class of 2021 an opportunity to share what they’ve been going through during this time. A new, optional essay is now part of both, and your child has to decide if they want to or should write about their recent experiences. Here are the questions:

Common App
Community disruptions such as COVID-19 and natural disasters can have deep and long-lasting impacts. If you need it, this space is yours to describe those impacts. Colleges care about the effects on your health and well-being, safety, family circumstances, future plans, and education, including access to reliable technology and quiet study spaces. (250 words)

Coalition App
Natural disasters and emergency situations like COVID-19 pandemic have impacted the lives of many students and their families. While entirely optional, you may share information here regarding how any of these events have affected you or your family circumstances. Please provide any additional information you would like to share regarding how these events have affected you or your family. (300 words)

This new optional question means that students do not and should not use their personal essay to write about the pandemic.


Because COVID 19 has been a window of time in their life experience and the personal essay is an opportunity to share so much more of who they are over the four years of high school. There are other stories to tell. 

So should your child write about their coronavirus experience?



Because if a student can share how the pandemic experience challenged them personally or academically, they’re offering more “color” to their application. 

If a student can discuss what proactive steps they took to serve a family member or a community during this time or even how they kept themselves safe and sane, it’s worthy to write about. 

And if a student can write what they learned -- a new board game; family is precious; how to garden or cook or rediscover an old hobby -- it might be refreshing for an admission officer to read and, dare I say, therapeutic for your child to write. 

It’s only 250 words and it can help their application. Why not do it? 

Need help? College essay writing is not easy and we know that students and parents have questions about how to approach the process. Thankfully, we’re offering the College Application Action Plan that can help your Class of 2021 child tackle all elements of the personal writing process. Click here, if you’re interested. 

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